A MINERS Rest woman who stole more than $425,000 from her local employers will spend at least 16 months behind bars, separating her from her young children.
Dianna Jane Orlowski, 36, was yesterday sentenced in the County Court at Ballarat to two years and nine months’ jail for the deceitful thefts in which she created fake invoices that she paid into her own bank accounts.
The mother of two children, aged six and eight, will be eligible for parole in 16 months.
Judge Roy Punshon, who took more than one hour to sentence Orlowski, described the offending as very serious, yet said he was confident Orlowski would not re-offend in the future.
Between January 15, 2010, and January 21 this year, Orlowski duped her dual employers, Sovereign Concrete Products and Australian Road Barriers, of $425,558.
Her thefts were revealed when a co-worker queried a number of transactions that an accountant had highlighted in an email to the business.
Employed as a part-time administrative assistant, Orlowski used the stolen money to purchase a new car, new ski boat and trailer, to pay off a credit card and to fund a $2000-a-week gambling addiction.
Supported in court by more than 15 friends and family members, Orlowski showed little emotion as she was sentenced, yet succumbed to tears when the judge left the bench.
Judge Punshon said he was mindful of the stress prison would cause Orlowski and her family, but said the seriousness of the offending warranted immediate imprisonment.
He added Orlowski had no criminal history and referred to two medical reports, which highlighted Orlowski’s depression and anxiety since the breakdown of her marriage in 2009.
“I consider these matters relevant as to why you offended like you did,” Judge Punshon said.
He said if not for her guilty plea Orlowski would have been jailed for more than four years.